When I see reviews about my writing, one of the most common comments I come across pertains to how dark my stories are. I did not set out to write ultra dark fiction. I didn't even realize that was what I was doing until I received the feedback I received. The darkness of my stories is just a reflection of my experiences...
What I hear most about my writing is that I am not afraid to tackle the tough topics. An interviewer once told me that he had asked several authors what they wouldn’t feel comfortable writing about, and most answered with the topics that I tend to explore in my writing regularly. When he proceeded to ask me if there was anything I wouldn’t write about, my answer, essentially, was no. My life has been a series of tough topics. The same can be said for many people out there. I figure, if it happens in the real world, why should I shy away from it in fiction?
So, what inspired me to start writing about these tough topics? In a word: life.
When I was in the fourth grade, one of my friends, the craziest kid in the school (I was also in the running for that title), had been coming to school with large bruises and welts all over his body for years by that point. We all knew he was being beaten badly at home. I’m sure the teachers knew, but no one did anything. One day, he became frustrated about something, and for reasons I will never know, he decided to stand over a garbage bin with a pair of scissors and cut off a portion of his tongue. I never saw him again after that day. I still wonder what became of him.
Not long after my friend cut off his tongue and was subsequently vanished to wherever children who cut off their tongues are sent to, another friend of mine disappeared after another horrible incident. His older brother wasn’t happy with the way their stepfather was treating them. As a result, their stepfather was introduced to a baseball bat. Repeatedly.
“Dimaro tackles sensitive subject matters that no one likes to talk about”
- thebonebreaker (Slasher/Goodreads Reviewer)
In my pre-teen and teenage years, I had to face my own tragedies, including the death of my brother, Fred, as well as the deaths of several other family members and friends. At the funeral of one of those friends, I met my first love. By the end of our three-year run, we joked that, for us, attending funerals had basically become as routine as going out on dates. Morbid, I know. But when people around you keep dying, sometimes all you can do is try to find some funny in it. Or risk losing your mind entirely.
I could tell many more stories like the ones above. The point is, that for my whole life I’ve been surrounded by broken children. Ruined people. And people who ruin people. For a long time, I was, and thought I would always be, one of those ruined people.
Where does the writing part come into all of this?
I have always written in some form or fashion. When I was a kid, it was making my own comic books. In my late teens and twenties, I wrote lyrical poetry and was a hip hop/rap artist. But I never really had any plans on being a novelist or fiction writer, not even when I wrote my first book.
It was in 2011 when I wrote that first novel. I never expected to write it or much of any fiction. Then, something was done to me that resulted in me eventually being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something I still struggle with now. When it happened, I found myself at a crossroads, walking that thin line between humanity and monstrosity that I sometimes yammer about.
“One thing that I have learned reading Dimaro's works is that he's not afraid to tackle the controversial or hard to stomach issues.”
- Eric of Our Horror Reviews
I could have done terrible things in response to what I had been put through. I wanted to. But I didn’t. Instead, not knowing how else to cope, I sat down and started to write, and write, and write. Until, eventually, with a pen, with a notebook, I wrote a novel about what had been done to me. A novel called “Broken People”. When that novel was completed, I put it away. I haven’t really looked at it since.
Writing that first novel didn’t fix me. Far from it (I was a mess for a long while). But it made me feel a smidgen better. It helped me cope, even if only slightly. After a while, I found myself writing more stories. I wrote these tales simply because writing them helped me deal with things and approach my issues in a way that was both cathartic and more interesting than just jotting words in a journal. Humans, historically, relate to allegories and stories in a far more meaningful and impactful way than straight forward facts and descriptions. I suppose I was writing to not only document my feelings but also to explore the perspective of the other person involved. The person who had devastated my life. I wanted to consider how we got to the point we got to. And how it might have been avoided. I was writing a story to myself to help me manage what I was going through. To help me understand myself and the people around me. I was writing to figure out why the world – the people in it – could be so fucked up.
“The subject matter is intense and Felix doesn’t shy away from the darkest parts of humanity. That being said, the way he writes about those dark subjects is what makes me want to start reading and continue to read his stories.”
- Bozzi (Amazon/Goodreads Reviewer)
The majority of the stories that I wrote following that traumatic event in my life were written with no intention of them being published. I shared them with a few people just to get their opinions, but mostly put each one away after completing it. After a while, though, I realized I was okay at this writing thing, and I proceeded to compile those stories into a collection. Most of those stories can be found in my first official release, which came out in 2019. An anthology of nightmares entitled, “How To Make A Monster: The Loveliest Shade of Red”.
I don’t exaggerate when I say that, in many ways, How To Make A Monster saved my life. Or at least my sanity.
So, regarding the question of why I write the things that many others seem to avoid, the answer is that I write about the things I know. I write about the things I've been through, and the things I worry about. I write about the things I wish people would improve upon. What I write is mostly classified as horror, but I'm just describing humanity. The truth is, there's nothing more horrifying than the darker aspects of human nature; particularly when that nature is purposefully nurtured, as is so often the case.
The things I write about are The Things That Keep Me Up At Night.
And The Things That Keep Me Up At Night are the reasons that I write.